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Joe

Balsa Baits

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Hi Guys, I have not worked much with balsa for my baits, but thought I would give it a try. I have seen several different ways posted on this site as far as giving the body a back bone for strength. I just tried something, don"t know if anyone else hhas tried this or not. I tried this with the d bait patern. I blocked out my balsa 1/2" thick, 1" High and 2 5/8" long. I traced the pattern to the wood block and drew a line from front to back from where the line tie and rear hook hanger would be placed. While still in block form, I drilled a 1/4" hole through the length of the bait, centered in the width of the bait. Then I took a length of 1/4" wood dowl, cut some grooves in it to give glue something to hold to and glued the dowl into the drilled hole. After cutting the bait on the band saw, I Had a blank ready to be carved with the solid dowl in place to attach the line tie and rear hook hanger. For the belly hook hanger, I cut a 1/4" length of 1/4 oz. mo jo weight and drilled a hole in the belly to install the weight. The screw eye was then epoxied into the hole in the weight. Sorry for going on and on, but wanted to fully explain the process. I tried the bait and it works great. My major concern is will the dowl give enough supprt for the bait to hold up over time? I would appreciate any comments or suggestions. Thanks, Joe

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sounds like a really good idea. i've made several dbait replicas using basswood and poplar but have yet to test 'em. gotta give your idea a try.

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I'm not 100% sure, but I think the dowl is oak. They were just listed as hardwood dowls. Since the bait and dowl are only about 2 1/2" long I can't see it warping out of shape, but I may be wrong. That's why I'm asking for input. Thanks, Joe

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The dowl will hold up just fine. Your bait should not warp even if water gets to it. This stuff about firming up the balsa was probably started by me. I had a large round lure made of balsa that the clearcoat cracked on. My conclusion was that the balsa flexed when a larger fish hit it causing the crack. My answer was to clearcoat the lure first. Then paint over the clear and then clearcoat the lure after it was painted. This is about as bullet proof as you can make a balsa lure. Dowls are used in balsa anywhere you want to add holding support. Screweyes are the best example of this. You don't need a long piece. Usually 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch long. I usually drill a 1/32 hole in the dowl after it is placed in the lure. This will allow the screweye to go in easily and still have hold. I also put epoxy on the threads to make sure that it won't pull out. Just about all of us "Over build" a bait. I guarantee that the baits that are built on this site are much stronger than factory baits. Balsa does not absorb water like other woods, and since you glued your dowls in with epoxy then they are sealed. Warpage won't happen. You did just fine.

Skeeter

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Hey Skeeter, Im gonna tell you something that happened to me with a slight cracking of my clear coat. I tested about 2 dozen baits to see how they worked in a swimming pool. They did not have a complete finish on them and the bill on a few were replaced with other bills to visualize the difference of how they swam in the water. I made my cuts for the bill REAL tight! So that they stayed inside the lure while I tested them. I also tested other lip designs from a coffin style to a square style to a large rounded one. The lures that werent completley finished with the epoxy, water seemed to "PROBABLY" seep inside and cause my 1 coat of epoxy to split. Im guessing the water swelled the wood a little?? The other baits with the finished epoxy, nothing happened on. My probable guesss was that water seeped into the lure from where ever the lure wasnt sealed. I can only probably guess on this,,, it sounds possible, but also give it something to think about in testing of your lures and finishes... and what can happen! Cody

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Oh by the way Joe, your bait as Skeeter said.... is by far

"Overworked ". and will be more than sturdy enough. I have epoxyd in my screw eyes into Balsa and granted I have yet to catch a fish on one of my lures..... I believe it will be fine for Bassin! I really like the idea of the dowell. Sounds very sturdy to me, and takes the lure making to one more level above the call of duty!

Trust me.... I will keep you posted in the Spring when the fish are biting as the strength of epoxy into balsa!! Cody

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Cody,

I understand what you are saying. The crack was all over the place. It wasn't just a straight crack. There was a dent toward the front of the crack. It was a very small one and you had to look for it. Perhaps the fish or something that hit the lure caused the dent and allowed water to get in. That is a big possibility and therefore your theory could be right on the money. I never thought of that. But the bottom line is that one of my lures cracked and failed. That is just plain unacceptable. Thanks for the thought. It is a good one.

Skeeter

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Skeeter, The post that had me concerned was one from you. As I said, I have not used balsa for my baits and wasn't sure how to handle the building process. I have taken apart old Bagleys and like you said, they use a length of dowl about 1" long for the rear hanger. The front line tie was in the bill. I guess sometimes I go overkill when I do things, but if I make something for someone I want to be sure it's the best I can do. I have always had something in the back of my mind since I started carving lures a long time ago. A long, long time ago when I was young, I remember one of the Three Stooges programs where one of them started making fishing lures. The bait was so popular, they could not keep up with production. As a marketing tool, they packaged the baits in old tobacco tins. Well as it turned out people were not buying the the lures for what the lure was, but purchased the lure to get the tobacco tin. I want people to buy my lures for what they are, not the package. I guess that is why I try to take the extra step hoping I have done all I could. Thanks, Joe

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Joe,

That was my point. We all want to make the best that we can. Therefore we ALL overbuild the lure. I do it on every lure that I make. It is the thing to do. I call it quality. Which post bugged you? I have done about 360 of them. Is it something that I can help you with?

Skeeter

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Skeeter, About the only woods I have ever used for lures is Spanish Cedar and Tupelo Gum. Both are very strong woods and can hold up to just about anything. When I first started thinking about using balsa, is about the time you and some others were talking about how the balsa baits may flex under pressure and if this were to happen, the clear coat would crack. At that time, I decided to stay with what I was comfortable with and put off trying the balsa. Recently I figured it was time to give it a try and I figured I should try to strengthen the bait somehow as well as have a means to attach the rear hook hanger and line tie. That was the reason for the wooden dowl. Maybe I was reading too much into what was being said about the flex issue. Like you said, were all guilty of overbuilding baits, but I would rather be guilty of that than not doing it properly. You and others have been a great help in explaining the ins and outs of lure making and I really appreciate that. Thanks, Joe

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Joe,

The main problem that I had was with a large round bait. I have not had any problems with flat ones. I have other round baits made out of balsa that were not "strengthened" that have done just fine. But they haven't had the beating that the other one had. The one that busted was a prototype. I beat the heck out of prototypes. But I have a standard that I expect from my lures. This one failed. My baits are not cheap. The customer expects alot for their money and I believe in giving it to them. Even though I have found a way to fix the problem I am still not happy with it. I am always looking for better performance and durability with my crankbaits. Seems I am rarely completely satisfied. Dive into the balsa. It is good stuff. You can really make some awsome baits with it. You may have some problems, but you will also have many successes. Take one of your baits and make it out of different types of wood. You will find that some designs perform better made of a different wood. It is all part of the process. You will figure it all out. And if you run into a problem and haven't got an answer to it....... then get to the forum. One of the tallented folks on this board will get you an answer.

Skeeter

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